Get Your Mojo On!


Monday morning, rise and shine! It’s a new beginning, a fresh start, a day for opportunities to abound! 

Don’t even talk to me before I’ve had my coffee.

Then get your coffee Ms. Crabpatch and get busy. Just take a look at the gorgeous sky.

Do you realize the temperatures are in the single digits? Maybe I’ll just crawl back into bed.

Now is that any way to accomplish your goals? Where’s your resolve for those plans you made? Are you giving up that quickly?

~~~~~

Please tell me I’m not the only one who has those self-talks.  It’s like the angel on one shoulder, demon on the other, each of them whispering into my head, but I have to make the choice.

It’s true –  the week is full of opportunities. Monday is the start of a fresh new week, a chance to have this week count as a success in my planner. Before I started using my bullet journal,  I had plans in my head.  I kept a mental to-do list and rarely got past the first two.

But then I discovered the bullet journal! This amazing tool is priceless to me.  I don’t keep it up every day, and I’m not going to stress over that.  Life has gotten pretty crazy over the past year and I’ve learned to chill out and do what I can and go with the flow when I need to.

One of the ways that I feel that my bullet journal, or bujo for short, has helped me is that I have my daily to-do list. When I first started,  I wrote out my daily wishlist as my todo list. It looked something like this:

  • Housekeeping (sweep, mop, vacuum, clean counter, clean bathrooms, dust, clear clutter out of living room)
  • writing – blog, Point #3, 2 scenes, 2500 words
  • exercise – walking, aquacise, weights
  • appointment if I had one that day
  • MLO job – correspondence with emails, check sop updates, check rates, make calls, upload documents.

Now my daily to-do list looks more like this:

  • MLO job -make calls, correspondence, upload documents, etc ( there really isn’t much I can do to change what needs to be done at a job that someone else is paying me to do a specific job.)
  • HOusekeeping: chore of the day – focused on one room
  • Writing -1000 words minimum,
  • exercise: aquacize 45 minutes
  • Scheduled appointments

At first glance, you may not notice a big difference but it’s there. realistically, I know I am not going to get the entire house clean in one day. I’ve decided to focus on one area per day. Since I’ve been doing it this way, my house is cleaner. It’s not where I want it to be yet, but that’s because of the clutter. Much improved, but still room for more improvement.

I have to do certain tasks for the dayjob, so that doesn’t change other than I don’t stress out about it like I used to. There are days when I only get a couple tasks completed, and that’s OK. Some processes take longer than others.

My daily word count used to be 2500. It will go back up to that but for now, I am trying to hit at least 1000 words daily. To be honest,  on days when I have appointments or therapy, it may not happen. Last Friday I had an appointment, I couldn’t concentrate before the appointment,  then afterwards I crashed! I didn’t realize that I had been so keyed up over that appointment,  but apparently I was. I got a whole whopping 460 words last Friday –  I still count that as a win because I got some words.

My point is, back to the opportunities; by not putting a bunch of constraints on my schedule,  I have the flexibility to adapt to those urgent things that pop up unexpected.  Before, I never allowed ten minutes downtime so if anything happened, anything,  I was stressed and freaking out because I didn’t have the wiggle room. For instance –  being stuck in traffic. I sat in traffic for nearly 2 hours on a drive that should have been thirty-five minutes. It was aggravating,  but I took the opportunity to enjoy the music on the radio.  It was soothing. What could have been a very stressful 2 hours turned out to be calming. I couldn’t do anything about it anyway but in the past I would have been biting my nails, yelling at the moron driver who caused the accident up ahead and probably using some colorful metaphors in my monolog!

We can take the opportunity to take charge of our lives,  how we deal with what life throws at us or we can take the approach that we are helpless victims being tossed about by the wind and waves. The storms are going to happen so be prepared! Some of them can be avoided. Sometimes we get caught out in the rain. Other times, we have plenty of warning.

Seize the day while you can!

By the way, I stayed up, I went to my exercise class, I did the things, and I feel better for it. Regret is a hard task master that I plan to avoid! There is nothing that can beat you down faster than a bad case of the ‘should-haves’.

Is there one thing that you can do today to improve your outlook or  decrease your stress levels?

Write on my friends, write on!

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Oh Well!


In the past, I would have been quite upset.

In the past, I would have been ten times bent out of shape because my plans were derailed.

In the past, . . . well you get the idea. I make plans,  they get trashed. You’d think I would get used to it by now, but no.

I can’t afford to get upset over this anymore, it’s not worth it. I can choose to go with the flow, adapt, overcome, and change directions on the fly. Well, sort of.

OK, so maybe I don’t adapt on the fly. There are a few kinks and jagged edges before I accept the inevitable. Alright,  in some cases I am downright pouty that my plans were trashed. Like my plans for January – trashed. I haven’t been in the “Oh well” frame of mind.  I’ve been in the ‘toddler kicking and screaming mentally’ stage. Hey, I know my truth and at least I’m honest about it!

Real mature, I know. I need to adapt a more French “C’est le Vie” approach, or  the “que sera sera” or a more Bohemian -“Oh well.” attitude.

Changing your habits and behavior is a difficult thing and sometimes those learned responses that are programmed into the rabbit tracks of our brains,  you know the automatic responses, still show up even when you think you’ve kicked it.  It’s the same type of thing that triggers PTSD, seriously it’s the same brain parts. I know y’all don’t want to talk about the amygdala and the reticular formation so we will move on.

For example, I had laid out a plan for my blog with themed days again. Mojo Monday with my motivational posts to stir myself and others up! Tasty Tuesday where I will share new tasty Cancer friendly meals. I was undecided on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Fridays would be the MFRW posts, and Sunday to get back to the WeWriWa snippets.

Then . . . LIFE HAPPENS. First, it was the flu, even after getting a flu shot. Then the therapy appointments and doctor appointments. Then, family in the hospital, then funerals, then more people in the hospital,  then the big appointments with the oncologist. (We’ll address that at a later time when I’ve processed things fully and can  be calm.)

All of this has left me with little left to give out, feeling exhausted and drained emotionally and physically. Not that y’all aren’t important to me,  because I’ve told y’all before, I get super excited when I get a new follower, or someone leaves a comment. It really is a high point in my day! But there comes a time when there are other life matters that take priority over what I want, over a self-imposed deadline that only really matters to me.

Seeing a loved one in the hospital in pain,  or the nerve-wracking waiting for them to be out of surgery. This is when you have to accept the moment, be in the moment and realize that the most important parts of our lives are the friends and family we love and that love us.

You are only truly blessed when you love and are loved.

I think this is one of the really sad part of our current society, people will spend hours on social media, yet isolate themselves from the people who care about them.

Do yourself a favor.  Put down your phone, get off your tablet and engage with someone. Call your mom, ask her what’s for dinner and tell her how much you appreciate her. Call your sister you haven’t seen or talked to in weeks or months. Go visit your kids and grandkids! Life is too short.

We need to embrace the moments of joy that life offers. Make part of this year’s goals be spending real time with friends and families and living life.

I have a lot more I’d like to say,  but I need to go to the hospital to visit my sister. The “tyranny of the should haves” is really working overtime on me and I don’t want to add to it.

Go! Live! Laugh! Enjoy life.  Have dinner with someone you love! Visit a friend or at least call. That’s what our phones are really for.

Write on my friends, write on!

What Awaits in 2018? #MFRW


Week 52 – the last, final post for 2017 blog challenge.

Colorful fireworks over a night sky

I gave up on New Year’s Resolutions several years ago,  but I do set goals for myself for the coming year. What’s the difference? A resolution is something you hope happens.  A goal, a smart goal is something you set for yourself with a specific framework and a deadline.

This past year – 2017 my goals were as effective as resolutions. Why? CANCER.

I’ll admit, I didn’t see that one coming.  I let it derail me. I was shocked, stunned, reeling from the diagnosis. Then the whirlwind of prompt action from the doctors had my head spinning. The only time doctors act swiftly is when it’s a serious matter,  so I felt an additional stress imagining the worst –  what if it was stage 4, what if it had metastasized, what if . . .  but it wasn’t the case. THANK GOD, mine wasn’t nearly as bad as some. Praise the Lord –  it was found early.

The point is though,  they were swift in all their actions and then rushed me to treatment. I barely had time to think. It was the next appointment, the next treatment.  I lost control of my life from March through August.

In August, I evaluated where I was in comparison to the goals I had set for myself and cried. Seriously,  I just sat there crying for nearly an hour before I decided to do something about it. Then I looked at what I could do and pushed myself to get Roxy completely revised so that I would have at least one book for Penned Con.

I did manage to lose some weight, although the goal I had set for myself was 50 pounds,  I have lost 46 pounds. Still a win! (It was a 48 but I had extra portions over the holidays.)

From September through now, it’s been a difficult battle with dropping pounds as the medication that I have to take is known to cause weight gain. In addition to my slow fat storing metabolism,  I now have an additional obstacle, but I’m winning, slowly!

I had set a goal for myself to read 100 books this year, didn’t make that one.  I have read 25. Most of those have been hard copy print books. The ability to focus was lost during treatments. Chemo brain is a very real thing. So, I’m cutting myself some slack and counting this as a win as well because I have managed to read most of those since August.

What about 2018?

What goals will I set for myself this coming year?

  1. Publish 5 books in 2018: Valkyries Curse: The Awakening, Book 2: Trial of Aegir, and Realm WArs book 1 –  I haven’t decided on a title for that one yet. This is the precursor to Faere Warrior: Passion’s Price – which has been finished for ages,  but held back because my former media coach advised me to write the prequel first. In addition,  the release of The Blood Key in a fantasy anthology, then I will release in paperback in September. And one other one – I may have to do a poll with my readers to see which one they are more interested in because I can’t decide.
  2. Continue with healthy eating and lose 40 more pounds.
  3. MOVE! We plan to move closer to where my husband works because now he commutes for an hour each way. I have discovered one major flaw in our moving plans,  they don’t have a community pool in that area, so my aquacize classes will be gone. My solution?  We need a pool of our own! (You like how I worked that in there?  You think I could maybe get a tax write off for medical therapy??)
  4. Finally get my office! We’ve been through this before, I’ve worked hard to clean an area in the basement, shared pictures on here then it was promptly taken over for another use. Can’t even tell you how pissed off it made me. Then with cancer, I honestly didn’t have the energy to fight it.
  5. Enjoy living! Carve out time to spend with ones I love and care about, do the things I enjoy, have some fun in life! This will become a priority because I am prone to get overwhelmed with all the things that should happen that I forget to enjoy everyday life. Stress less and live more!

That’s it. Those are my goals for this next year. Not a twenty point bulletin of overachiever perfection. Not a ten point attack on every area of my life. Not even a 12 month, 12 item list of things I’d like to see happen. Simple, basic, achievable yet challenging goals that will improve our quality of life.

Cancer changes things.  It really made me see how much time I waste on fretting over things that don’t really matter, conceding on things that do matter to me, and wishing I had more time for what really matters –  the people in our lives.

What about you? What are your 2018 goals and dreams? Not going to say resolutions, because we blow those before the end of January!

You can find the other authors participating in this blog hop HERE!

This post is included in the prize drawing for the flash fiction fest –  so leave your comment!  All commenters are entered in drawing for this week’s prizes. (See post yesterday for the list of prizes, I don’t feel like typing it in yet again!) All entries will be put through randompicker and the winner will be selected!

Best wishes to each of you, and have a Happy New Year!

Write on my friends, write on!

The Doors! #MFRW


Happy Friday!

 

Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 34 – Open Doors or Closed Doors? 

I have a small confession to make. I often think in song.  It’s true! Just about any topic, and my mind goes to song lyrics. Maybe it’s all those musicals my Mom used to watch on TV. Maybe it’s the musicals we went to the Muny to see. (ST. Louis Municipal Theater, Forest Park) Maybe it’s the eighteen years of piano lessons, ten years in band counting college, or maybe it’s just an annoying quirk that I have. It drives the  hubs bat sh** crazy.

See what I mean? 

I’m sure you can make the leap of why my mind went automatically to The Doors given the prompt.  I mean come on, that was an open door! *snorts*

But what if that wasn’t what the MFRW challenge

had in mind? Hmmmm.

 

 

It’s a horrible thing, this ADD brain of mine. Look- Squirrel!  Back to the topic – doors. How can any writer worth their salt not think of JRR Tolkien in reference to doors?

I put the  thought on the back burner while I attempted to upload my new  book to Createspace. I say attempted because my laptop is not cooperating with Adobe flash player, and it won’t let me review the insides. It simmered back there for a few hours.

*ding* It’s soup!

What if . . .  yeah, I could go with that.  Since this blog challenge is  related to romance writing,  maybe I should share about doors in that field.

In 2015, I had made myself a resolution that I would submit my manuscripts to publishers through July and if none were accepted,  I would attempt the self-publishing route.

I have regularly submitted articles to magazines and online magazines. It’s similar but different to novels. I sent Kiss of the Dragon off to 3 publishers and got two rejections and one – if you rewrite the entire thing and change the characters then we will review it again. That kind of changes the entire story, don’t you think?  I shelved it.

I sent Faere Warrior: Passion’s Price off to 2 publishers. One rejection, one – if you add the backstory in and set this as maybe the second or third book in a series, and make the overall story the realm war,  then we would be interested in the series. I was on cloud 9!!!

I worked on it diligently, had the foundation story down, made the suggested tweaks to it, then had a falling away with an individual who unbeknownst to me was part owner of this small publishing house. Offer retracted. Sigh. Project shelved.

I sent 3 other stories off to publishers, some were unsolicited to houses that it was a long shot; nothing.  I submitted to a specific call for romance shorts, nothing.  I submitted to a call for a BDSM short, made the first round, then was cut in the second round.

I nearly quit. I thought I’ll just write for myself and file them away and maybe some day when I am dead my kids will find my manuscripts and read them and think they might be worth publishing.

 

 

I was ready to throw in the towel on getting any books published.  I had been successful in article writing for the newspaper, maybe that was all I was cut out for.  My dreams ‘done fell through’.

In my morning sprint group, the wonderful ladies encouraged me to keep writing and suggested that I consider self-publishing. I have to be honest,  I had a tainted view of this.  I thought self-publishing was Vanity Press.  Most of the people I knew that published books were through vanity press and they were a joke. Not to make light of their accomplishments!

Several church friends published their books, most of which was their life story. They sold a few at a table at church when they were first published then ended up with boxes of books in their garage or basement.  I didn’t want to be that person.

Then I started seeing more and more fiction writing in the Indy market. I finally bit on a friend’s novel about zombies and I loved it.  It was hysterical! They convinced me to consider it. So, back to the time line – I told myself if I didn’t get a contract by July, I would pursue the Indy market.

I finished my first book Red Wine & Roses.  OK, it wasn’t the first story I finished, but those were rejected and I was told to revise them, rewrite them or add X amount more to them. I made a post on Facebook that I had finished it! An individual whom I had worked with on the group blog got in touch with me for Eclectic Bard Books.  AN OPEN DOOR!

I jumped through that door so fast it made my head spin. It was a whirlwind of deadlines, demands, and then nothing. We came to a mutual point of not renewing the contract and they were gracious enough to release the rights to my story. I am truly grateful for that and the opportunity.  I learned a lot, but small house publishers . . . CLOSED DOOR! Locked, bolted, NOPE!

I learned a lot through that experience.  Some good, some bad,  all of it memorable.

I have edited some truly crap writing. I have also had the privilege of editing some great writing. In both cases,  the author was confident enough in their work, even if I thought it sucked, (hello –  there, their, they’re; to two too; affect, effect; was/were; numerous cases of  that doesn’t mean what you think it means;  and sex scenes that read like a clinical post rape exam – shudders)

Yet, they were determined to get their baby out there. What was I so afraid of?

Life has a way of impressing upon you what is really important.  I had been making excuses for not finishing my work, and not focusing on one project. I was a story polygamist. Either I wanted to do this or I didn’t, which is it?

My second book, a nonfiction humor collection of posts that started on my blog was my first shot at going Indy. Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass: I got the formatting wrong, got the margins wrong, but I learned. Soon I was able to get Red Wine back out there under my name.

I continue to learn. This year,  life smacked me around pretty hard but it drove home the point of either do it or shut up. I am going for it! There is still an open door, I’m going to use it.

There are a few other areas of my life that I have made huge revelations in as far as excuses. Some are harder to change than others but not impossible.

I feel like I am getting a second chance in life, I don’t want to waste it.  I’ve had some real issues with what our church teaches about personal goals and striving for your own desires. It’s sad that it has taken me this long to get it,  but I believe  God gives us the desires of our heart.  I believe that His word is true.  But I also believe that He expects us to work our little or big, fannies off. I don’t think there is anything wrong with personal aspirations –  it is what drives us to become better.

Maybe I’m wrong and y’all should pray for me in this. But tell me this,  Kurt Warner achieved his goal of becoming a professional football player. How is that OK, yet being an author isn’t? This lack of self-esteem that was established in my young years has somehow made me think that my goals aren’t as important as anyone else’s. That is wrong thinking.  I’m shutting that door right now. By doing so,  I am opening multiple doors of opportunity.

We are often our own worst enemy.  I know I am. I’m the one that put everyone else’s needs above my own. I’m the one who sidelined myself in life.  I’m the one who shelved my own dreams. NO MORE!

This isn’t a dress rehearsal,  this is real life. We are responsible for what we do with it.  I’m not happy with what I’ve done with mine up to this point,  so this second chance is a breath of fresh air. It has driven home the point to let things go. Shake it off.

I don’t want my eulogy to be, oh she was nice.  I want it to be bolder.  I want people to know that I gave my all, pursued my dreams,  living life with gusto and no apologies. I’m through apologizing for being me!

This wasn’t the direction that I  intended to go, but this is what came out. Doors are apparently a touchy subject with me.   Maybe I should have stopped with The Doors. NAH!

Let’s be real. Let’s be authentic with each other.

Life sucks at times, it’s up to us to make lemonade with the lemons we are given.

What doors are you keeping shut? Which ones have you opened? What doors are standing open waiting for you to go through?

There are a lot of other author’s in this blog hop that may have a more sound post. You may want to check them out at:

 

 Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:
  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually when I get to it. I’ve been working on Roxy and this week, I FINISHED IT! Roxy Sings the BLues in is the hands of the editor!

Here is the preorder link for ebooks:

As soon as my laptop cooperates or I figure out how to bypass flash player, the print copy will be available!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Hello Beaches!


Happy Friday! I lift my cuppa to you.

You might think that I am trying to be super clever with a play on the word,  for all of my B**** friends. Sorry, no. Although, I lift my cup to you as well.

I recently had a major run in with a mean girl B that was callous, insensitive, and absolutely rude. Not inclined to humor those who think it’s funny to be an absolute B to others and think it’s all good because it isn’t. I think more of someone who takes the time to be kind than blast another person. Alas, it seems kindness is a dying art.

But, since I went there I guess I can tie in my vent with the theme for today. Let me refill my cup, while I think of just how to do that.

Ah! That’s better. Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 33 – What I Do to Recharge. 

Coffee is what I do to charge in the morning,  not necessarily recharge. By late afternoon after you’ve dealt with horrible people and want to strangle someone, I really don’t need more coffee or else I’d be wearing an orange jumpsuit. Not a good look for me and I’m not interested in being Beulah’s latest girlfriend.

Ah, but we’ve hit part of the topic there, for the reason we need to recharge. Honestly, if we just did our work day in and day out, it does tend to be a bit of a grind, but it gives you a feeling of satisfaction to know that you’ve been working.  It’s kind of like going to the gym.

At first, your muscles are sore and protest. ‘We don’t want to exercise. We like being soft. Don’t make me do that.’ It’s your job to be drill seargent and whip those saggy wing flaps into shape, get that bounteous backside in tight formation, and push the thunder thigh twins to peak performance. “Ugh! But it hurts. I don’t wanna”

Shut up and give me ten more.

“Wah!” 

Just for that let’s make it fifteen more. 

By the end of the third week, however,  things are beginning to take shape, and show signs of improvement. Another couple months of this and the troops may just thank you for it. Or not, by nature we are lazy.

The point is though, that if it were just doing the work,  it would be a cake walk. After a few weeks of disciplined work, we’d feel great about ourselves, our abilities, our strengh. . . . but it isn’t just that.  We have to deal with people.  It’s people that create the stress.

No, it isn’t it’s deadlines and demanding schedules. 

Who makes the deadlines? Who gives us the demanding schedules? Who creates the stress in our day? PEOPLE!

The difficult client that refuses to listen to what you are telling them.  The customer that is rude in the checkout line simply because they don’t want to have to wait in line like everyone else. The person who nearly runs you over with their cart in the grocery store because they are in a hurry.

THIS is what causes the stress. OK, let’s be honest, it can be our own dearly beloved family members as well.

Mo -mmmm, where’s the scissors?”

“Why?”
“I need them for a school project.”

ten minutes later. “Since when is cutting your sister’s hair a school project????”

Take me away Calgon. Maybe forget the Calgon and go for Captain Morgan. However, since I can no longer imbibe anything stronger than Welch’s . . . . Oh right, Cancer! Health issues can be another stressor.

So now we have a list:

  • rude and impatient people
  • kids
  • demanding schedules
  • health issues
  • self or other imposed deadlines
  • add your own personal pet peeve here

I may as well as add that last line because we all know we have them. When people violate them, we get all sorts of bent out of shape. Whether it’s dropping the towel on the floor in front of the towel rack, ( “Come on! It’s 3 seconds to hang it up!”) OR the dirty clothes on the floor. . . five inches from the hamper. OR dirty dishes in the sink. (Where did these come from? I JUST washed all of the dishes!) See what I mean?  Most of our stress comes from other people! SIGH

But then again, our lives would be pretty boring if we were in isolation. Isolation is one of the forms of punishment in prisons and concentration camps.  It’s said to be one of the cruelest punishments.  There are days I wonder if it really is punishment, though. How long do you think you would last in true isolation?

So, back to the top.  My little run in with the mean girl who has ruined it for me for those “Friends” who delight in being B****es.  I started taking part in this program offered at the YMCA for Cancer survivors. It’s a free, 12 week program designed to get you back into shape after treatment.

OH man, do I need it!  Radiation treatments themselves don’t hurt,  but the cumulative effect causes fatigue. . . and burns.  We won’t talk about the burns. Shudders – thank GOD they have healed!  I thought I knew what fatigue was before going through this. NOPE. Got a whole new appreciation for it first hand.  My stamina is nonexistent, and my muscles are weak. It’s like learning to walk all over again. OK, so maybe not quite that bad, but having been able to do 45 minutes of cardio a year ago, to struggling to do ten minutes without stopping. . . it’s frustrating and emotionally draining.

I found out last week that part of the reason that my fatigue was so bad, is that during the course of tests and all, they also discovered that I have diabetes. OH JOY! So, I’m trying real hard to follow the guidelines for this new diet.  My doctor told me that I should aim for 15 grams of carbs or less. So that was what I was doing. For the day. He didn’t specify that was for each meal, that my daily total should be 45,  I’ve been making sure I only had 15 for the day!~ So yeah, I have been exhausted. No carbs, no energy. Part of the hair loss is probably because I haven’t been eating. Part of the fatigue from radiation is probably due to no carbs.  So a little self-induced stress to add to the mix.

Anyway, the mean girl . . . a fellow Pink sister (Can you believe that? Wait, it gets better!) comes up to me after the class to inform me that they were talking about me, and they noticed that I am lopsided and I should really refrain from wearing sports bras.

 

Really?  REALLY??  OH, let me get right on that! Heaven forbid my less than perfect physique should interfere with your rose colored glasses outlook on life where everything is picture perfect. This from a fellow survivor who just the week before admitted that she had been admitted to the stress unit for suicide watch because of depression post-surgery before she got implants. REALLY ? And you think it’s OK to point out someone else’s flaws?????

Mean B****es can suck it!

AAARRRRGGHH!

Yeah,  I’m stressed. I need some down time that isn’t medically induced.  I need some refreshing. I’ve been pushing myself hard to get this book out in time for Penned Con. In the past week, I’ve added 11,000 words. I’ve wrapped an editing job for an author, and I have to say this second book is better than the first in the series. I don’t say that very often.  My life has been a scary rollercoaster ride since April. (Jane! Stop this crazy thing!) My eldest daughter left for college on Monday – yet another change to adapt to.

It’s about time for some refreshing.

My husband scheduled vacation time to take me to my favorite place – the beach.

There is just something calming, relaxing, and refreshing about the salt wind, and the constant sounds of waves crashing on the sand. I could do without the seagulls, but since they are a package deal I suppose I will have to deal with them.

“That’s great and all,  but stress happens every single day.

What do you do to refresh on a daily basis?”

I play Sudoku puzzles.  I play match three games on Facebook. It’s addictive. There’s this Fishdom game, and I run out of lives nearly every day. I often play those games on my tablet when my husband is watching funny cat videos.

I read. I read my morning devotional, and take a few minutes to pray. I’m  doing my cleansing breaths in the morning,  mid afternoon, and sometimes right before bed.

I would very much like to get back to crafting, but I will need more energy in order to tackle that.

I sometimes crochet, but honestly, it’s been too hot to have yarn lay over my lap. I’ve been having a cup of chamomile tea in the evenings before bedtime. I’ll be glad when the weather is cooler, we can sit by the firepit and enjoy some cocoa and watch the sunset. As Ferris said so long ago:

 

So, welcome to my  stress/chaos/ ADD world. Yeah, I know. I covered about four topics there, but really they are all tied together. Don’t argue with me, they are. Don’t stress me out man! LOL

Thanks for stopping by. Find what other authors in this blog hop have to say their dreams are for ten years from now here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually when I get to it. I’ve been working on Roxy! Don’t pressure me!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Ten Years from Now . . .#MFRW


 

Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 32 – Ten Years From Now

So, here’s my top ten wish list for ten years from now.

  1. BE CANCER FREE – I hope that I never have to go through this or any other form of cancer ever again. I have made drastic changes in my diet, my work load, my habits, and my mental state. I hope and pray for that day to receive the status of SURVIVOR. I’ve made it through treatment, but the Status of SURVIVOR doesn’t  come until I’ve been cancer free for three years.
  2. BEST SELLING AUTHOR – I plan to continue to get my books out.  I have enough books in the queue to keep me busy until I’m in my nineties and that isn’t counting any new ideas I get between now and then and you KNOW that new ideas will come. In Ten Years, I plan to have at least twenty books out! BTW, watch here because I have something coming soon.
  3. MOVE TO FLORIDA – My husband will retire in ten years and I am hoping we can move to the sunny Gulf coast for the next five or so years. This is in discussion, or in his mind – we won’t talk about this anymore because he doesn’t have any desire to live on the coast.  We’ll see.
  4. HAVE TRAVELLED  – In ten years, I hope to have traveled to many wonderful locations on this beautiful earth. We plan to take more cruises, in addition to visiting places in the United States that we have never been to like The Grand Canyon, Scotland, Ireland, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, the Biltmore Mansion, Cape Cod, Washington DC, and anywhere else we decide to go. I’m not sure about those travel trailers, I see people that get in a Winnebago or whatever the latest brand is and take off.  Not sure how I feel about those.  I think I’d prefer to get to the location and stay in a hotel room. However, having said that there is always those news reports about bed bugs . . . that’s enough to creep even the hardiest of souls to avoid hotels.
  5. HAVE AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE – I can’t tell you how disheartening it is to be so fatigued that just walking out side to get into the car makes me feel. A few years ago, I was active. I could do 60 minutes of cardio at one time. I am out of breath just doing 15 minutes now. This sucks! I will work on improving my physical state so that if I felt inclined, I could run a 5K. Not saying I want to,  but I would be able to. If I attempted that now I am afraid I would collapse of a heart attack. If we go to Mexico, I want to be able to climb the steps of Tikal. I want to be able to hike up Ben Nevis. I want to be able to walk the beach – whatever beach and not worry that my husband would have to drag me back the way we came because I gave out. I might even start getting out on my bike! Can you imagine a 60-year-old me in biker shorts, gray hair, crash helmet, barreling towards you,  head down, pedaling like my butt’s on fire???  It’s an exhilarating thrill that I haven’t felt in a while.  I want to feel that again.  I want to feel healthy again.
  6. SPOIL GRANDKIDS –  Right now our daughters are both single. There isn’t a grandkid in sight for the near future. But in ten years, I hope that will change. I hope they both find mates that love them and treat them like the gems they are and of course then they make beautiful grandbabies for me to spoil. Maybe by then, I’ll forget the Millenial attitude. Probably not, but there’s a chance.
  7. CELEBRATE OUR 40TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY –  although technically, in ten years from now it will be 42 years of marriage so I guess this one will have to have already been checked off. OK, so then we celebrate our 40th with a Cruise to the Western Carribean and I have lots of pictures to share. That will work!
  8. SOLD 1 MILLION BOOKS – Everyone has to have a goal right? I mean if you shoot for the stars and clear the trees then you’ve made progress.
  9. HAVE A CLEAN TIDY HOME – OK, I’m not Suzy Homemaker. I’d never pass the white glove test but I do like things neat and orderly.  We won’t talk about the clutter – moving on. Let me just say this –  2 adult children still living at home! I may have to seek professional counseling soon. My OCD twitch is getting worse every day.
  10. DISCOVER THAT THING CALLED SPARE TIME – Alright, I shared last week that I had to totally change my schedule. It’s supposed to be a much more relaxed pace, not pushing myself constantly. A lifetime of Type A personality is difficult to change. I’m working on it,  but I still haven’t managed to get everything – even the shortened to-do list – accomplished within my 24 hour day. Where do you find this “spare time”? Is there some secret store somewhere that you purchase it? Is it some contract you sign in blood with a devil? ‘Cause this chick ain’t afraid of no crossroads demon. Have you discovered how to clone yourself? PLEASE, somebody, let me in on the secret! Taking time to relax and unwind in theory sounds like a good plan for mental health. IN theory. IN reality, it’s a fast track to guilt if I chill on the patio knowing that: a) my book is not finished, b) all of the other books aren’t’ finished c) there is more housework to be done d) I should really tackle those bills e) laundry, the neverending story, f) . . . you get the idea, right?  It’s not as easy as it sounds.

So there you have it, ten goals that I will be working towards in the next ten years. I’m trying to chill. I”m trying to get things accomplished. For some reason, they seem like polar opposites to me. Good thing I’m not dead yet,  ’cause I’m still a work in progress.

Thanks for stopping by. Find what other authors in this blog hop have to say their dreams are for ten years from now here:

14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually when I get to it.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

A Progress Report of Sorts


My life has been derailed by a flu bug. I didn’t manage to get the blog hop post up on Friday – I barely managed to remain conscious for part of the day and the following couple of days. There is a long list of things I didn’t get done over the last few days. SIGH. Moving on, some tasks will have to be made up while others will have to be let go, deleted, or put back into rotation at a later date.

Up until now, I’ve been opposed to flu shots thinking that this was akin to the perpetual overly prescribed use of antibiotics that have aided in the creation of super bugs. Well, after this bout of influenza,  I am willing to succumb to the poke.

Anyway, enough about that.  A brief update on the list of things to do for the month:

Editing –  finished one book which was amazing! I am so excited for the release on this one. Have made progress on another editing job,  about three-fourths of the way completed, but waiting on payment. Also, I’ve picked up a couple more editing jobs. HA-  what’s a few more irons in the fire, right?

Writing – alas,  this was put on the back burner while tackling the next item on the list. It figures, right? When I get a plan in place of what I want to do, the direction I want to go in, then life throws a curve ball. It sometimes seems that the universe conspires against me. It’s time for the universe to start working with me, however. I have made up my mind that this is going to be my first priority, even over the editing.  For one, I think it will do me good to set the editing voice on the back burner,  she’s causing me to second guess practically every word I write down.  There are thousands of words that are going through my mind,  that sound like gold inside my head.

Online Course Requirements for the new job – this has been priority one for me. I haven’t done real well at juggling, in fact, I set everything else aside so that I could focus on this. Until the flu had its way with me.  I sat down Thursday morning to go through the second module for the longest class, only to end in failing the quiz. *Hangs head in shame*  The saying goes, most of the things that we worry about never happen. It’s true.

I spent a couple of hours spiraling into an all-out panic attack. I could already tell the fever was getting worse. The achiness wracked my entire body. My head was pounding. You think maybe, just maybe, that might have played a part in my less than stellar academic performance? Seems rational now but at the time I didn’t see it. When I couldn’t get back into the course, I panicked.  As my symptoms increased, my anxiety was through the roof.

After a while though, I had to stop. I’ll omit the graphic details, but  I didn’t willingly stop. Mr. Influenza didn’t exactly ask me if I wanted to spend the majority of my time in the bathroom. I had all of  the what if I don’t pass/ I’ll lose the job/but I feel like crap/ they don’t care/ license requirements don’t make exceptions for special snowflakes/ life isn’t fair/ oh my god I feel horrible/suck it up and  try again/I’m locked out/ now what do we do?/ contact them NOW/ it’s in their hands/ get some rest . . . this is when it got crazy.  I gave up on the course and sat down on the sofa. Immediately I had dozed off fitfully. I had chills so bad, the queen sized comforter wasn’t enough. My temperature was blazing hot, my heart was pounding in my chest – I knew I needed some sleep. So, when I moved to my bed, my nasal congestion immediately got worse and I literally couldn’t breathe. Yeah, add that to the mix! Because, you know things aren’t bad enough yet.  I needed sleep. I couldn’t sleep. Now I was afraid to go to sleep, what if I didn’t wake up? I mean, breathing is kind of a necessity.

I bounded out of bed like I had springs in my butt. The chills were gone and the fever was blazing. I considered going outside onto my front porch –  even in my state of undress. Who cares if anyone saw me in my undies, I needed fresh air STAT!  Now, doesn’t it just figure that we had record high temps in February? Going outside didn’t really help much. It felt just as stifling out there as it did inside. I ended up getting a cold washcloth and wiping my face, neck arms, stomach, legs, then repeating.  I was in this  fugue state of panic/fear/exhaustion.  I had taken some Nyquil and a couple of tylenol for the fever, but they had yet to kick in.

Misty suggested that I go through this technique to bring me down from the anxiety, which worked after several repetitions enough for me to relax so that I could at least breathe. It doesn’t help that my sister told me that people die from the flu! Not what I needed to hear just then.

Anyway, once the fever had dropped enough that I didn’t feel as if my brain was boiling, and the meds had kicked in enough that I could at least breathe, I decided that I would give my bed another go. Exhaustion can do strange things to you. Rest is the best thing you can do for yourself when you’re sick. I’m a terrible patient. There are things that need to be done, chores that don’t get done unless I do them.

Sometimes it takes an emergency to put things into perspective that if it doesn’t get done without me, maybe it isn’t really that vitally important. Has anyone ever died from dirty dishes left undone? Laundry accumulating? NO! It was waiting for me when I started feeling better. I have a lot of mixed emotions about that,  but in the end, I take care of it.

By Saturday morning I was feeling a little better. However, the hubs now had it. While he slept, I wrapped myself in a cocoon of blanketed warmth, got myself a new box of tissues, and put the kettle on for a constant refilling of hot tea. I made those classes my bitch! Owned those suckers with a final score of 92 out of 100. Hey, not bad considering I was under the weather. That material is dry, dull, boring, legaleze jargon that could put anyone into a comatose state.

Anyway, after completing the course I moved to the sofa where I crashed hard for  the remainder of the day. That’s my big accomplishment –  I have aced the courses ahead of schedule even while having the flu!  TADA!

*Throws confetti* This calls for a celebration!  Since I missed celebrating publishing my 500th post – which was One Phone Call,  completing my MLO classes is certainly means for celebrating.

Anyway, now that I’m moving back towards a healthy state, it’s time to tackle those undone things.

Write on my friends, write on! I promise less ranting next time!

Ellie

 

 

New Day


It’s a brand new day! It’s a new month – yay! This is the point when we get a do-over for good intentions. For instance with the blogging. Even the best-laid plans sometimes fail.

Nothing can be done for the days lost in January, it’s now a fresh month. In the past, I have taken all of my unfinished plans from the previous month and started there before tackling the items I had designated for the current month. That is a fast track to being overwhelmed and giving up before you even begin. Trust me, I’ve done it numerous times.

For instance, with my bullet journal, I had an entry on January 22, then nothing. The next day I felt nearly human again after several days of illness is January 30. Last year, I would have felt guilty. I would have made entries for each day in between, trying to squeeze something from the brain to fill in for those days, but this time I didn’t. NOPE. I simply wrote ‘And then . . . ‘ in large bold letters, with a brief journal entry about what was going on, namely, I felt miserable until my daughter took me to urgent care.

Then I made an entry for Monday with the header Moving Forward. That, my friends, in a nutshell, is my entire philosophy for the year.

Moving Forward

I have five large projects on my plate for this month:

  1. An editing job that has a firm deadline. ( I love editing for others. It gives me a chance to read their work, help with something that I am good at and also stimulates my creative brain at the same time. I am always energized to write on my own work after I do some editing for someone else and I have been anxious to  work on this one!)
  2. Rewrites on Roxy Sings the Blues, now that I have a  workable plot. (This is where my 30 index cards will be put to use!)
  3. Passing the 20-hour course for regaining my MLO license. This one has to be completed by February 28th. This is not an arbitrary deadline that I picked,  my job is contingent upon passing this course and getting licensed. I’ve done it before, I can do it again! (This is a tough class. Dry material, legal schtuff, technical mortgage  blah blah blah,  a whole lot of laws and acts and this will require inordinate amounts of caffeine in order to get through the volumes of materials I must relearn. Yes, I am regretting letting my license lapse this past year. Infuriatingly regretting it, to the point of mentally beating myself up over this decision.)
  4. Make progress in my fitness and weight loss plan. (My goal for January was to lose 8 pounds, I only lost 3. I did, however, get my behind out to the track and started back walking at least.  We’ve had mostly mild winter days. I have used a workout video that a friend referred me to during days that are cold, wet,  or the roads are bad. I’m ready to add another lap this week, and  by the end of the month I plan to double the length of that walk.)
  5. Decluttering and updating our house so we can move closer to my husband’s  work. (He has a very long commute now. )

So, of course, this is the perfect time to add something else to the mix, right? Of course, it is!

An author friend has been encouraging me to join this blog hop thing, 52-week thing. I’m already behind the curve, but I can make those up, no problemo! You’ll see the first installment for this on Friday. What’s one more thing, right?

Following the categories that I have already used for blogging,  I will on occasion – I’m not even going to say I will post every Monday because you know as well as I do that I may or may not manage every Monday. Seriously, take a look at my list above! BUT, I guarantee you that at some point throughout this month, I will give updates.

I had already agreed to share tidbits of the WIP, which will cover item number two. I will share a couple of things throughout the month on editing. This is something that I’ve thought about many times,  making editorial posts to address common mistakes that we all make and are things that you can fix yourself.

BUT, I was wondering does anyone even care about my weight loss and fitness journey? Does anyone really care about my home improvements? Renovations? Updates?

IDK –  I had thought about sharing that month’s projects with pictures of before and after, but does anyone really care?  Honestly, I am not doing major renovations like tearing out walls or adding on to the existing floorplan. We are on a tight budget here and most of these changes are simply going to update and make our house saleable.

I’m still undecided on those two points, but if you have an opinion feel free to comment or message me.

I’m heading to my editor’s desk to dive back into this book.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Inquisitve Minds


apple-tree-image

 Writer’s are innately curious, you do understand that, right?  It’s an insatiable drive that urges us onward constantly asking why. If your child is asking you questions like “What did little red riding hood have in her basket? Did she forget her glasses that she couldn’t see that it was a wolf instead of Grandma?  How did Peter fit his wife in the pumpkin shell? Was she a fairy?”

My mother quit reading me fairy tales quite early, relegating that task to my sisters. I was a wiz at reciting my nursery rhymes just like I was taught.

Little Boy Blue,
Come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow,
The cow’s in the corn;
But where is the boy
Who looks after the sheep?
He’s under a haystack,
with little bo peep! 

Wait, that isn’t how you learned it?  Yeah, my sister’s had a wicked sense of humor. When I started asking questions of why, my mother deferred me to my siblings who are much older than me. They were quite creative in their answers and the more inquisitive I was in a line of questioning, the more abstract the answer would become until it satisfied my mind. At times I was slow to catch on because as a child I was naive and trusting.

I learned rather quickly that the things I had been taught, the answers I was given were rarely the correct ones. I also learned cynicism and sarcasm at an early age as well.

Why is the sky blue? Because God ran out of green after painting all the trees.

Why don’t apples grow in the garden like cucumbers? Because if they did, the rabbits would get fat. 

Why do fish eat worms? Because they like their insides tickled. 

Seriously, who does this to a child??  The thing is, most of the population accepts things on blind faith. Creatives, on the other hand, question everything. My mother had little tolerance for questions of any sort. The most common answer was ‘because I said so that’s why’.

In this vein, I made a point to answer my kid’s question to the best of my ability.

So what does this have to do with anything? It has everything to do with writing. If the person can’t ask questions,  they will never come up with original story ideas. You have to know facts before you can deviate from them. For instance,  gravity makes everything fall down towards the earth. So, if some alternate force were to be in effect, then objects would either float in the air or accelerate towards the sky.

From asking why is how abstract thinkers get strange, unique ideas for science fiction and fantasy. Romance writers have a different angle in their creativity. We have to come up with relational issues, not alternate laws of physics. Any writer takes the opportunity to ask what if, creating chaos for their characters.

Which leads me to my current WIP, Roxy Sings the Blues. Originally posted on Storytime Trysts as Oral Dilemma, I’ve been revising that hot mess to be something a little more substantial than serial posts to fill a time slot. I’m fairly pleased with some of the scenes as I hope you will be also.

Last year, I participated in a snippet share on Sundays with some blogger friends. I decided that on Tuesday I would share teasers from the WIP as those Sunday posts seemed to be a big hit but I am often not online on weekends. Here’s a little teaser for your pleasure:

“You’re up next Ms. Winters. Can I get you anything while you wait? A water with lemon? Hot tea?” David motioned a stagehand over towards us then instructed him to bring a chair for me while I waited. “Have a seat while Cameron finishes his set.”

I gladly took the offered seat, my legs were like jello in the platform heels. I was about to achieve a long time dream and to top it off, Devon was by my side. If I died today, I would die a happy woman.

What does all of that have to do with what I’m about to do now?

Everything! It’s not the string of bus stops along the route, it’s the entire journey. Allow me to share from the point where it really started.

I know, it’s just a teaser. Let me know what you think. Are you curious to read more? Would you like longer teasers? stick with short? Talk to me!

I’ve got a  schedule for release in my planner, a date that I am shooting for. I am really trying to focus on one project to completion this year. Hopefully, it won’t be too painful of a transition for me to actually be productive.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

New Year, New Plan


man-looking-up-at-stars-milky-way-and-galaxy

Just when you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth . . .

Between colds, flu, and a bout of food poisoning December took it’s toll on me. I”d like to say it was reflected on the scale,  but I can’t. That would have been a desirable side effect so we can’t have that, right? That’s how it seems at times.

I fully intend to get back on track with my blog, with writing, with my fitness goals . . . which brings us to that time  – the New Year – when I make my new list of goals.

Three things that you should know about me if you haven’t already gleaned this info:

1. I’m an overachiever. I know it and yet I find myself compelled to continue in my overachieving way. Doesn’t mean I always accomplish them, in fact, it’s often to the contrary.

2. If I don’t plan, I will drift aimlessly along never accomplishing anything, then beat myself up mentally over my lack of focus.

3. I’m seriously ADD and find it difficult to focus on much of anything for very long, hence why I change my themes regularly, digress in the middle of a five hundred word post, and am easily distracted by the next shiny.

So I have multiple categories,  varied topics, and the most consistent stream of conscious seems to be random madness. I didn’t do so well on this past year’s  goals. 2016 was not my best year in any stretch of the imagination. On to the new year, right? It isn’t going to do much good to keep pondering my failures. Learn from them and move on, which brings us to the present. A new shiny!

2017 Goals for Ellie:

  1. Publish 4 books. I’m not restricted by any small publishing house’s  whims or schedules. I have multiple files sitting in my folder with finished projects that are ready for an editor. Valkyrie’s Curse was finished  – so long ago I don’t even remember when. I went back over it in April of last year, making revisions and realized that I hadn’t really wrapped the story, which led to expanding it into a series. Revisions put it’s completion in July, and I was supposed to hand it off to Eclectic Bard at Penned Con before my contract ended.  I am really going to try to focus on one project at a time until completion so the order of release will be: 1)Roxy Sings the Blues, 2) Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening, 3) Eerie Isles Chronicles book 1, 4)The Piano.
  2. Blog 12 Times per Month. Goal 1 transitions into Goal 2 because after discussion with other authors, one of the  ‘hits’ of my categories was shared snippets of current writing. ( To include revisions as well.) I’m planning to be back on a regular blogging schedule and do NOT plan to be sick for five weeks straight ever again if I can help it.  But that’s just one topic, right? I mean there are so many other things –  bujo, food, fitness, current events,  and a myriad of things that may pop into my head from time to time. (Trust me, it’s better if you read them one at a time instead of the rapid-fire barrage that  exists inside my cranium.)
  3. Read 30 books. Down from my usual 50 but I still have to read. Consider it research and a job requirement.
  4. Lose 50 pounds. I hate where I am. I never wanted to be here, and yet here I am. This goal is the top priority and if I accomplish nothing else this year,  this one is a MUST. Fifty pounds doesn’t even get me to my goal weight,  but that’s  nearly a pound a week. If I lose more great, but I am currently not at any semblance of a healthy weight.
  5. Build my author’s website and integrate my blog there.
  6. Get our house ready to sell and move. This is a major undertaking as we’ve lived in the same house for 23 years and my husband is a packrat. I tend to procrastinate and avoid dealing with the stuff. We are surrounded by stuff and I can’t take it anymore. The austere living is becoming more and more appealing.
  7. Get my office set up. We’ve been over this so many times. Last time I shared pictures of the area that I worked my butt off ( unfortunately not literally) clearing out only to have that area filled with more stuff. It was disheartening. I haven’t made a lot of headway since then. It’s like getting your feet cut out from under you. Not just having the rug pulled,  but someone hacking your feet off and then having to continue. How can I make myself focus on a writing career as a business when I have to keep moving my laptop off of the table every single night? I need certain writing tools and stuff when I am writing. I need my reference materials, resources, notes, planner, and my to-do list. These end up stacked on the shelf that tops the short wall of our stairwell. For a visual, it’s a stack of clutter in the kitchen of an open floorplan home. This sets off my OCD-ness every day.

Seven goals for 2017. Streamlined tremendously from my 50 a couple of years ago. Should be simple enough to accomplish right? Simple but not easy.

It’s going to take a concerted effort in order to accomplish each one. It will require effort, a great deal of effort. I could use some encouraging along the way. I’ll make you a deal – I’ll cheer you on with your goals if you help me with mine. Deal? So what are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish in 2017?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie